LAGAAN : Looking back to the year 2001

10 years. Can't believe its been ten years- a decade. When I got awed by something that I watched on screen. What kept on playing in my ears. And what I saw inside the cinema halls. That was LAGAAN. Way back in the year 2001 - one of the finest years Indian cinema has witnessed.

I can remember how Aamir had kept Lagaan miles away from media and publicity. Nobody knew much about the movie except few things like it was shot in Gujarat's deserted area of Kutch. That its story was set in years when English ruled the country. [Another movie about Freedom movement I thought] I was studying my engineering back then. Many people don’t understand how time-consuming engineering education is. ;-D I was completely disconnected with TV then. You won't believe but I hardly could watch TV because I was living alone as a PG [though the family I lived with, insisted that I can go and watch TV anytime, but somehow I resisted myself]. So for me - nothing but word of mouth was the only source [and local newspapers] for information about Lagaan. On one fine day I heard the first promo has come out, Kaisa hoga promo? kaisi hogi Gauri? [mad mad]. Someone told promo is very short. Just a bunch of rapidly moving frames with Big B telling 'Lagaan - Sau saal pehle ki ik aisi kahaani, jo itihaas ke panno mein kahin kho gayi thi' - whooo! Bachchan? [I do not like him 'that' much, u know]. But yes, he has that voice. my excitement was on its peak. I was counting days to the vacation. [the 'reading vacation' just before the exams] that I can go home and watch all happenings one by one.

And then the day came.
I watched very first 'music' promo. Awestruck I was by the simplicity. It was just one shot. Remember this one - last scene of 'o rey chhori' - two shadows - Bhuvan and Gauri standing, sun sets in background. Bhuvan wraps the 'chunari' around Gauri, and hugs. sigh.... the background was prelude of 'Ghanan Ghanan'. And last - 'Music out on 6th April'. Whoaaa.... I was already mad. Mad. Just couldn't wait till 6th. And before that day - I saw 'Making of Music' - something that was rare at that time. That too on DD METRO !! [Remember that channel?] Very first was 'O rey Chhori' - the Rachel's portion. O.M.G. Vasundhara Das !! O.M.G. Red dress fluttering through windows of Mandvi's palace ! sigh.. Bhuvan and Gauri dancing with that stick in Ghanan Ghanan.... sigh... I couldn't wait till 6th April to get hold of my own audio cassette ! [yes, no CD/DVD players we had] And the day came. Thanks to my bro - who got me the audio. Playing it instantly - the Bass. Ghanan coming from my speakers - heaven. I was on 'reading' vacation but still I couldn't help myself but re-re-re listen to the soundtrack. Re-re-re read the inlay card of the cassette. Re-re-re watch Rachel, Gauri and the team's pictures. [Still, I couldn't get idea about the story - even the songs giving hint about fight of villagers with English rule, thats it. Whats more - not a single hint about cricket - even after watch pic of 11 people standing - on cover of the album]

Back to hostel. :( Had only seen Ghanan Ghanan and O rey chhori on TV. Wanting to see all songs. But,, back to study. Exams. But, friends came to help. They told 'Mitwa' is on air ! One of them even did the dance steps - how awesome Aamir is in that song. How amazing Gauri dances in that. I felt OMG Keel the exams now.... that May, was tough to pass. Very tough to wait up till June 15th. Yes. June 15th the day when it was going to release all over. Exams over.. wheee..... Lagaan was all over the media. The songs - nothing else though. Playing its OST day and night was a ritual. People were saying - Aamir is betting high with this 'history' thing - Aamir is cashing in Gujarat's earthquake - blah blah. And then, Aamir was on KBC [Kaun Banega Crorepati]. With completely new look. The famous Goatee. [he was shooting for DCH then]. Discussing about Lagaan, its shoot and movie. Glued I was to screen - thinking I MUST not miss first day first show. But bad luck-the very first multiplex of my state Gujarat - that got opened near my place - was all BOOKED ! [PANIC...] No tickets for the first day.... [die die die]. Again, big bro came to rescue. We went there on second day - night show - no tickets :( ..... but hey hey hey Rangeela's Munna was there. [well, almost] - we bought tickets in BLACK ! That too of the very first row ! [never mind]. And... we entered the World of LAGAAN...

History was being re-written. Goosebumps was allover when the logo of Aamir Khan Productions came up. And then... pin drop silence - the coin was rotating on the screen. Bigh sound of drums. And that sound trumpet - LAGAAN ! Mr Bachchan - who opens the movie with his baritone - convinced me that he's the only one who can be there. And then... there was Bhuvan. People couldn't believe that was Aamir-speaking dehaati language. Someone commented that 'that's not him, this is dubbed voice :P'. The seats where we sat, was funny though [the front seats, nearest to screen]. We have to watch it left to right. :D Soon, the cricket part arrived. People were amazed to watch such perfect amalgamation of history and cricket. No body even thought that this movie had a storyline involving cricket. Then what happened next is a history. history of all cinemas of India and outside. Cinema halls turned into Cricket grounds. [I personally DO NOT like Cricket, but thing was different here, full marks to Ashutosh for making me shout, go mad, cheer for Bhuvan and team]. Those depressing moments of 'o paalanhaare'. That excitement of Bhuvan's innings. The climax....and finally that moment - when each eye was wet with tears of happiness - "Hum Jeet Gaye...."

Experience. That was !


  1. OMG! Don't you love Lagaan? :P
    You remember every moment spent for that movie :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this Darshit, great to read about all that was going on in your head at that time. You know it's unforgettable when you remember all that!

    See, I wasn't nearly as lucky to have seen Lagaan in a theater in India. We had a bunch of boring people in a theater in Miami, and I kid you not, it was pretty dull despite being packed, and people even kanjus enough to not clap at the end. Who doesn't after this kind of film nahin?!

    On the positive side, and I've said this before, I owe my first viewing of Lagaan to my aunt and didi, who insisted I join them to see it. I wasn't much into Bollywood at that time (whatever excitement I had after Ghulam, Earth and Sarfarosh were gone after Mela), and I am SO very glad I went. Pretty amazing, to say the least.

    On another positive least when we re-watch Lagaan now, the funny bit is ghar ke sab log get together in the living room at what point you know? When the cricket match start. :) Truly is the life of the film, just so much fun all around. Long live Lagaan! Cheers.

  3. Haven’t watched Gadar. Didn’t feel like. I was shocked when I first came to know that Gadar was the highest grossing film of all time (at that time) in 2006..

    Lagaan is my favorite Hindi movie of last decade and probably among the top 3 favorites of mine among all BW movies.

    Thanks for those BO reports. Always nice to read such stuff. Those days I suppose a 90-100% on weekday was quite possible, probably due to fewer cinemas… No chance today.


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